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How Queensland Museum Digitizes Workflows to Preserve the State's Heritage

By Eunbyeol Koh on February 12, 2020

Queensland Museum in Australia is the custodian of the state’s natural and cultural heritage, caring for more than 14 million items and specimens in collections that tell the changing story of Queensland. 

Queensland Museum Network delivers museum services across 5 venues through a network of public museums including Queensland Museum Southbank, Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville, The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich, Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba, and Hendra Geosciences Research Facility. Thus, it is crucial for them to have a centralized place to secure assets and collaborate with each other.

We caught up with Shane Appleby, the DAMS Administrator for Queensland Museum to hear how the Queensland Museum has digitized workflows to better preserve its collections and make them more accessible for people. 

Feature image: © Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch

What is the purpose of using FotoWare at Queensland Museum?

We have a number of instances of the FotoWare suite in the museum. We have a Digital Asset Lifecycle workflow where digital assets go through a Quarantine and Appraisal process for Quality Assurance, of both the digital asset itself as well as the associated metadata attached to it, before they are stored as Masters. The FotoWare system provides access for staff across 5 campuses to the collection of Digital Assets. Our Digital Asset Library is a mash up of FotoWare with our Intranet (Sharepoint) and uses the Active Directory to help manage security of the files between departments.

What kind of digital assets does Queensland Museum own?

Queensland Museum incorporates the Biodiversity, Geosciences and Cultural History disciplines and hence has a vast array of analogue media and digital assets across all three programs. We also have the usual Media, Marketing, Graphics, Exhibitions and Lifelong learning departments to cater for.

We are approaching 100,000 digital assets in our main DAMS, however we have around 360,000 analogue assets that need to be digitized so we still have a long way to go. At least we have a workflow now to start the process and manage it successfully.

Queensland Museum also has a vast array of 3D data types. We are in the process of created a research portal in which our DAMS will be the discovery layer of information for the objects to help researchers find the 3D datasets they need for their research.

img-blog-queensland museum-2© Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch

img-blog-queensland museum-3© Queensland Museum

Who are the main users of FotoWare?

As you would expect, the Publications and Photography team’s biggest client usually is our Marketing and Graphics departments. That said, we serve all disciplines throughout the museum and each department has slightly different needs and requirements for how they work. We also have many external requests from media, researchers and the general public. We are in the process of releasing our Public facing FotoWare portal where the general public will be able to view the stories of Queensland online.


Which FotoWare feature is especially helpful for your team?

Interactive markers make it easy to identify at a glance the status of a digital asset with regards to where it is in the Digital Asset Lifecycle and who can see the image. e.g. We use a blue globe icon to signify this image is available to the general public. We combine interactive markers with Color Factory channels [a workflow automation tool from FotoWare] to streamline our workflow of handling the digital assets.

What are the biggest benefits of using FotoWare?

The old school way of doing things was with simple windows file structures and MS Access Databases, Excel Spreadsheets and hard copy registers (which we still have and date back to 1950!).

Queensland Museum has 5 campuses throughout our great state and having the digital assets available via a web interface allows for departments to collaborate on projects using Albums. We have also implemented the ordering system for applying for usage of the digital assets so that we can approve usage to ensure intellectual property compliance.


img-blog-queensland museum-4
© Queensland Museum


How does FotoWare help Queensland Museum to achieve its goal?

FotoWare allows us the flexibility to meet the requirements of internal and external clients for business as usual tasks as well as for special project needs, whilst protecting the collection and maintaining security and intellectual property.


Do you want to set up your own workflows for your team? Here are 7 Digital Asset Management workflow examples from our customers, and step-by-step guides that help you set up your own workflows that will help your team work smarter. Download the free e-Book now! 

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7 DAM Workflows
Learn about 7 Digital Asset Management workflows that are commonly used to save time.